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Showing posts from 2015

The Search for the Historical Christmas Story

Is there a better way between the dismissive arrogance of the sceptics and the naive fideism of the fundamentalist? I hope so.

My pet litmus test for a true interest in the historical Christmas (rather than the populist semi-pagan saccharine version) is the lack of room in the inn, which was of course no such thing but simply an overflowing guest room in the house of one of Jospeh's relations.

Generally the main sceptical complaint is the dissimilarity of the Christmas stories but they align in more ways than they disagree. The biggest stumbling block for most is the issue of Jesus' birth at Quirinius' census for which there is considerable evidence to the contrary. Not least that Quirinius was not governor of Syria until 6 AD. However even this is not as cut and dried a mistake as it appears.

There are various theories about what (known) astronomical event might explain the Magi's star, and one who connects the later Christian attachment to the fish symbol (Ichthus) t…

Logical Fallacies and the Fallacy Fallacy

Yes I know that is a lot of fallacies in the title. I came across this little picture on FB this morning.

Which I thought was worth keeping as a nice summary of the main logical fallacies, but then I read this piece by Randal Rauser which complains about a fallacy which he coins the Fallacy Fallacy:

The fallacy fallacy illustrates the old adage: “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” In this case, the person knows just enough of logical fallacies to throw around labels that effectively inoculate themselves (and others) against good reasoning.

So be careful folks, watch who you wave those fallacies at!

Rauser on Heaven

Here's a nice video of Randal Rauser explaining how so many Christians get the Biblical teaching on Heaven wrong and why it matters. Enjoy :-)

It's Tense Being a Pastor-Scholar

Blogger Andrew Wilsonwrites for CT on the tensions that pastor-scholars face.

The specialist - generalist tension
The practical - theoretical tension
The university - church tension
The novelty - fidelity tension

He also links to Michael J Kruger's blog post on a chiastic typology of scholar/pastors

Pastor - scholar
Pastor - scholar active in the academy
Scholar - pastor active in the church
Scholar - pastor

I think both the roles of pastor and scholar have become more all consuming and complicated in recent decades and increasingly the divide will be greater. Many pastors simply don't have the time to read more than a book a month, yet on any academic biblical or theological topic the secondary literature is so overwhelming that most full-time scholars struggle to keep up with it. This is one of the things I find blog reading very valuable for when scholars take the time to blog their research into digestible chunks. Additionally with the internet access to mor…